It’s been a week since I’ve returned from France. It feels good to love being back home and also to have experienced another trip of a lifetime.
There were a handful of people I had conversations with about my trip this week, and before we parted, they said something like this:
“Well, that sounds amazing. It’s on my list to do something like that, but I don’t know if it will be in this lifetime or not.”
There are lots of things people tell themselves they won’t do or see in their lifetimes; they may not even say it out loud, but they carry the belief within them.
Maybe it’s because someone told them certain things were impossible.
Or that they’d never access or achieve certain things because they were not good enough.
Or that believing in dreams or “pie in the sky” possibilities only leaves people wide open for failure, disappointment or a broken heart.
I’ve worked with a lot of people who’ve come to me with one foot dancing in reckless and beautiful possibility (yaaaassss!) and the other foot cemented with beliefs that they cannot change.
They offer me evidence of their “failures” (I don’t believe in failure, by the way).
They list the circumstances that are stacked against them: people, places, the career, unemployment, bored and not enough to do, too much happening, too little money, too much money — I could keep going.
They tell me they’re not sure they can change, because — well, look at this world we’re living in and how things never change. Life just gets harder.
And to that, I say this:
“Yes, let’s DO look at this world we’re living in. Look at this life you’re living. And let’s make an inexhaustible list of how things DO change — that each one of us has the personal capacity to grow and change. And when that happens to one human being after another, things in the world change as a result.
Release yourself from the “not in this lifetime” way of thinking.
It’s a prison. And it keeps you from seeing the butterfly that you really are; capable of flying right through the fucking bars any time you want.
Here’s a list of things you could have told me years ago and I would have said, “yeah — that sounds fantastic, but probably not in this lifetime”
- assembling and riding in a hot air balloon in the south of France at dawn
- buying eggs, vegetables, fruit and flowers in a French street market in the rain and taking them back to my apartment to make breakfast for my friend and me
- walking the streets of Paris in an evening gown and being photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower
- swimming naked in the Mediterranean
- sharing stories, meals, laughter and out-and-out falling in love with nine women I’ve never meant before — and teaching them a little Zumba in my evening clothes after our last dinner together
Which of these have I realized in my lifetime?
Every single one of them. And those are just a few — don’t even get me started on things like creating my family, writing a book, falling in love, and changing a flat tire by myself on the side of the road : ) .
Magic and miracles can happen any time; even around things where there was once a mass consensus that “people won’t see that in this lifetime.”
This weekend, in my home state — a red state where a certain county clerk gained notoriety by clinging to a “not in this lifetime” philosophy — I get to be a witness and stand up for two people I love who are getting married: a Canadian man who’s lived all over the world and landed here by the grace of God; and who fell in love with an American man who grew up on an Indiana farm.
If those two people with all of their varied circumstances and locations could find and fall in love with one another in this lifetime — that by itself would be a miracle.
But what’s even more powerful is that they are making a legal and public commitment to be married — something a lot of people might have said wouldn’t happen in this lifetime.
And I’m sure my beautiful friends had thoughts themselves this might not happen in their lifetimes.
And yet, here they are — and not just because the world changed and laws changed, but because all of the individual love and effort behind those changes for generations. Because there are people who aren’t going down without a fight to live fully in this lifetime.
Jeff and Mark — you are two of the best men I know. I’m so proud to be your friend and be a part of your life together — every day — in this lifetime.
I spent all of my 20s wishing I had more girlfriends who would have asked me to be a bridesmaid. I heard other women bitch and complain about it all of the time, but I would have happily bought all of those candy colored dresses and stood up for my friends and not complained a single note.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
Instead, God waited until I was 45 years old and saved me for the ultimate. I get to be in a bridesmaid entourage with some of the most gorgeous women I know at the wedding of two of the most beautiful, stylish, kind and loving men I know. And I may even get to do a costume change.
You are so loved, my butterflies. Congratulations and wishing you a lifetime of happiness.